BPD Chief Andrew Greenwood sworn into office, hopes to increase department transparency

Priyanka Karthikeyan/Staff

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When Andrew Greenwood was young, he used to come to the UC Theatre to watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show. On Thursday, the 100th anniversary of the theater, he stood in front of a crowd of community members as he was sworn in as Berkeley Police Department’s permanent chief.

More than 100 people gathered at the theater starting at 10:30 a.m. for Greenwood’s swearing-in ceremony, which began about 11:00 a.m. Berkeley residents, other Alameda County police chiefs and BPD officers attended the event. Greenwood was joined on the stage by his parents, his wife and his two children, as well as Mayor Jesse Arreguín, BPD Capt. Ed Spiller, City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley and City Clerk Mark Numainville.

“Andrew has always been very loving and loyal and protective of his family,” said Georgianna Greenwood, Greenwood’s mother. “Berkeley is an extension of his family.”

Greenwood formerly served as acting chief for about eight months, since former chief Michael Meehan unexpectedly resigned last fall amid internal and public criticism. Berkeley City Council appointed Greenwood as permanent police chief April 4, and his position has been effective as of April 9. On the night of the council meeting, the public was informed of Greenwood’s appointment and invited to the swearing-in ceremony via a BPD Nixle alert.

During the ceremony, Williams-Ridley said choosing Greenwood for the position was the “easiest decision for (her) to make as city manager.”

In Williams-Ridley’s speech, she thanked Greenwood’s family and acknowledged that he sacrifices time with his family as police chief. She added that Greenwood is a Berkeley local — he eats at Saul’s in North Berkeley and frequents Moe’s Books on Telegraph Avenue.

“Berkeley is unique, and you are so special,” Williams-Ridley said to Greenwood during the ceremony. “Andrew Greenwood has sincere respect for Berkeley tradition.”

Arreguín also spoke at the event, sharing his bright hopes for the city under Greenwood’s leadership. He said he felt honored to work with Greenwood and called him “forward thinking.”

“(This is a) huge step forward for our city,” Arreguín said. “We look forward to his leadership for many years to come.”

Greenwood closed the ceremony by referencing film critic Roger Ebert, who called film a “machine that generates empathy.” Greenwood said he applies this motto to police work as well by getting to know new people and gaining new perspectives.

Nodding to the future, Greenwood said he wants to improve transparency and trust in the police department. He told the audience that he comes into work everyday to support the community.

“The highlight of the ceremony was being able to talk to our people directly but in public, to commend them and thank them for their work,” Greenwood said. “It was really a wonderful event.”

Contact Ella Jensen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ellajensen_dc.